Media Roundup

Monthly Media Roundup – July 2020

Here we are, another month in the year that no one asked for. (I know that sounds grim, but really, did you have global pandemic on your wish list? If you did, we need to talk.)

I read fewer books this month, but more than made up for it in tv watching. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. But what started out as “ooh, nostalgia!” turned into Matt and I trying to figure out if we can justify squeezing in just one more episode before bed.
The show? ER.
Yes, the long running, started in the 1990’s medical drama that made George Clooney a swoonworthy household name. (Personally I think he’s good looking but not that good looking? I don’t know.)

I watched enough ER over the years to know a decent bit about it, surprisingly. I was allowed to watch it when I was sick and not going to school the next day. I feel like at some point I worked out a deal with my parents to let me stay up on Thursday nights and let me watch it, but I don’t know if that’s accurate, because I can’t imagine 9 or 10 year old me being that interested in it. (Then again, it wouldn’t have been the strangest of my interests.) I petered out on it after high school, so I know almost nothing after 2004.
While a lot of shows don’t hold up, this one does. I’m sure there’s some nostalgia lenses at play, but I can see why there’s been so many medical dramas in the years since ER premiered – there’s a lot of things this show did right. In fact, I think there’s some things that ER did better than some of the medical dramas around now. They don’t waste time, and the writing is tight.
But the background music is SO NINETIES in the worst way. Just be forewarned.

Anyway, I did finish six books in July, two non-fiction and four fiction. The non-fiction books were a little hit or miss for me this month, so I’ll just skip over those. The four fiction books I enjoyed. I think the winner for me is Florence Adler Swims Forever, the B&N book club pick. While I liked the other books I read, that one is the first to come to mind. It, like every other book B&N has chosen for book club lately, was heavy and sad. Because it’s the premise of the book and happens very early on, I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to tell you – Florence dies, and the family opts to keep her death a secret for a few months while her sister is on bed rest, pregnant.
Still, Florence is a really good read. Everyone in the family copes a little differently, and there’s some great character arcs. I would read books about almost any of the characters, because they all had promise.

Circe, Little Fires Everywhere, and Glass Sword are the other fiction books I finished. LFE is the kind of engrossing book that makes you want to dive into the pages and stop the unfolding train wreck. (Or is it just me?) I understand why it ended the way it did, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. Then again, I often have a hard time with more open ended endings. But the point with that one seems to be less the ending and more the fascinating carnage it unleashes along the way.
I’ve been waiting to read Circe for a while now – basically, as soon as I saw a fiction book that was mythology oriented, I was on board. When I heard good things about it, I was waiting for a chance to read it. How the author manages to make the book feel like mythology, without being dry or heavy handed, is something that awes me. My book club friend B said that she liked her book Song of Achilles even more, so now I’m going to have to read that.
Glass Sword is the second in a ya quadrilogy by Victoria Aveyard. They feel like guilty pleasures to me, but the truth is, I don’t feel guilty about them. They’re entertaining, and even set in a heavy dystopian society, still manage to be a little lighter than most of the B&N book club picks. (Yes, I’m going to continue giving them lighthearted flack until they pick something a lot happier.) I need to finish the series – I have the third one sitting on my shelf, but when I’ll get to it is anyone’s guess.

Since most of our tv time was wrapped up in ER, we didn’t watch much in the way of movies, either. Though I will say, the live action Beauty and the Beast is still a delight and, controversial though it may be, I enjoy it more than the cartoon. And I LOVED the cartoon.

Until next month, stay safe, take care of yourselves and those around you.

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